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Same as it ever was...
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, March 15, 2006

There's a War on, troops in the field, and lives at stake. Yet, in Congress, politicians are criticizing the war effort with statements like...
  • "The administration's campaign has been a disaster..."

  • "[The administration's campaign] escalated a guerrilla warfare into a real war, and the real losers are the [citizens and civilians]."

  • "I had doubts about the [campaign] from the beginning. I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."

  • "[The President] has no plan for the end"

  • "[The campaign] was a mistake. ... And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end."

  • "This war is not going well"

  • "It is not helpful for the president's spin machine to be out there right now saying that [the enemy] is weakening."

  • "a quagmire ... a long, protracted, bloody war"

Those statements came from an article written in 1999, when Republicans still thought nothing of questioning the rationale, conduct and purported outcome of war. And the Democrats thought little of challenging their patriotism for it...
Some Democrats call Republicans who make these arguments unpatriotic. Republicans reply that they're serving their country by debunking and thwarting a bad policy administered by a bad president.
Saletan's closing lines have proven astoundingly prescient: "You can be sure of only two things: Each party is arguing exactly the opposite of what it argued the last time a Republican president led the nation into war, and exactly the opposite of what it will argue next time."
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Previous Comments to this Post 

And yet the Republicans had some grownups who supported the Kosovo war and didn’t use that type of rhetoric. One is currently our President.

These days, Democrats who take Bush’s 1999 position amount to... Joe Leiberman?
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
Now that is an excellent find, Jon. "Same as it ever was" indeed. Good grief.
Written By: Matt McIntosh
And yet the Republicans had some grownups who supported the Kosovo war and didn’t use that type of rhetoric. One is currently our President
Bush, in Austin, criticized President Clinton’s administration for not doing enough to enunciate a goal for the Kosovo military action and indicated the bombing campaign might not be a tough enough response. "Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is," Bush said. [Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99]
June 10, 1999 — NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo ended with signing of peace accord. [AssociatedPress, 6/10/99]
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Boy you’re not just whistling Dixie. Just look at where the Reps and Dems stood on the National Security vs Civil Liberties debate back when Bill Clinton submitted the Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act of 1995 to Congress.
Written By: Doug
And this is some sort of revelation? I think I’ve asked you guys this before but I’ll ask again. What part of politicians lie like a fish breathes water confuses you? ;)

The Republicans don’t care about you. The Democrats don’t care about you. Neither has America’s best interest in their hearts. They want power. They want money. They will say whatever it takes to get elected and garner both. There are no statesmen any more, just greedy parasites. And those whose motives are pure are quickly defiled or discarded by a system that favors the slimy.

Hence why I want smaller government. Less ticks to try to get unburied from your wallet.
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
I’m with Robb.
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Thank you Robb, and your attitude is simply SILLY, NIHILISTIC and ultimately self-defeating... WHO DO YOU THINK ARE GOING TO CHANGE THINGS IN D.C.? The Libertarians? Or is it going to be the Good Government Fairies? No, you GIT, it’s going to be POLITICIANS! Those people you despise, you remember them, RIGHT?

Oh or are YOUR politicians statesmen? Or do you expect some sort of Libertarian ubermensch to step into command a la Geena Davis in Commander-in-Chief, "save" the nation via Executive Order and then return, gladly, to his or her plow?

When you denigrate the only folks that are going to change the system and say that they aren’t going to change the system, BUT DEMAND THAT THE SYTEM BE CHANGED:
Hence why I want smaller government. Less ticks to try to get unburied from your wallet.

You reveal yourself as infantile. Now it might make "Cute" drive-by blogging but as a basis for public policy its puerile and silly.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m with Robb too. What is it going to take for everyone of us to see this? Geeeeez
Written By: Paul C. Heimerl
URL: http://
Despite the heavy bombardment, NATO was surprised to find afterwards that the Yugoslav armed forces had survived in such good order...Towards the end of the war, it was claimed that bombing by B-52 aircraft had caused huge casualties among Serbian troops stationed along the Kosovo–Albania border. Careful searching by NATO investigators found no evidence of any such large-scale casualties.
As per protocol, form won out over function in 1990s military execution. At least this time there is no dispute about the military’s effectiveness in disrupting Saddam’s defenses.

NATO’s clients were the Kosovo Liberation Army. Seven years earlier, the KLA had been designated by the State Department as a terrorist organisation in league with Al Qaida. KLA thugs were feted; Foreign Secretary Robin Cook allowed them to call him on his mobile phone. "The Kosovo-Albanians played us like a Stradivarius," wrote the UN Balkans commander, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, last April. "We have subsidised and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early 1990s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary."
Are they terrorists or aren’t they? In fairness, we seem to be pretty ambivalent about the KLA now. OTOH, our courting of the Northern Alliance in 2001/02 was not in a similar vein; international realpolitiks were off the table by then. Indeed, the rise of Karzai in Afghanistan shows a strong willingness to set terms despite local tendencies. Will we take a similar active stance with the Kosovar Albanians going forward?

Written By: D
URL: http://
Hey Joe, check out your US history sometime.

There was a time when the politicians of this country were citizen-statesmen, not self-serving, power-seeking, arrogant hacks. Thus, I conclude it is not unreasonable to criticize the current crop of hacks nor hope for and work for a return to the golden age. There are other alternatives to salvation besides your apparent belief that it’s only going to happen within the power structure of the current parties.

Another historical point - both of the two major parties have not been around for the last 230 years. Parties do come and go. I’d sooner take a bet that the earth’s temperature is going to rise 10 degrees in the next 10 years than bet the GOP and DNC will be around for another 50. At the rate the DNC is going, they might not make it for another 10.
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Hey UNKNOWN, why don’t you read some HISTORY, rather than hagiography and you’ll see that THERE WAS NO GOLDEN AGE, dude. FDR, leaked on his oponents, tried to pack the Supreme Court... Lincoln had a Cabinet that hated him and a fractious Congress that didn’t like him much either. Washington accused of wanting to be King, Hamilton mistrusted and despised... and there have always been venal politicians.

Unknown there was no golden age and to want to return to one is silly, it’s as childish a belief as Robb’s. If you’d care to point out htese selfless noble polticians who populated this Golden Age please do. Otherwise, grow and try to make use of the people available.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You reveal yourself as infantile. Now it might make "Cute" drive-by blogging but as a basis for public policy its puerile and silly.
Coming from a guy who HAS TO SHOUT IN CAPS and call people names instead of trying to have an adult leveled conversation, I’ll take this as a compliment!

Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
Yeah Robb, whatever... unlike your post which only accused folks you don’t like of being leeches or was it ticks? Yeah boy, that was an intellectual challenge. Tell you what I’ll take back the "Git". Now your posting was still PUERILE and NIHILISTIC, presenting no realistic alternative. Plus you didn’t explain, in response to my criticism, exactly WHO would be saving the US? Will it be the Good Government Fairies? Or simply the people that think like Robb? Those folks, now they aren’t politicians, they’re statesmen, right? But the others, well they’re merely politicians...
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
JOE, I think you REALLY need to LOOK over your history AGAIN. I’m REFERRING to the ERA of WASHINGTON and JEFFERSON. Jefferson did NOT want to be remembered for his political activity, but rather his service to education. Washington VOLUNTARILY RELINQUISHED POWER after serving his second term when he CLEARLY DIDN"T have to, such was his popularity (and no LIMIT on TERMS served.) That people HATED Lincoln is hardly an INDICTMENT of his CHARACTER considering the state of the union. Like all people I’m sure all these men had faults, but if you REALLY think that today’s politicans are the EQUALS of these guys then I’d say you are BLIND.

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Errr. Washington actually declined an opportunity to become a king.
And part of the intent of paying politicians poorly in the beginning was recognition of the fact that if you paid them enough to make a living, as a politician, they would.

And, given that they can vote themselves raises, why, surprise surprise, they have.

They also weren’t supposed to be in session so long, thereby minimizing the amount of damage they could actually perpetrate.
The original designers intended them to return home to their ’subjects’, hob knob with them, and otherwise find gainful employment at real jobs instead of practicing life as untitled they do today (sorry, carry over titles seem to be in vogue though - President Carter, President Clinton).

Written By: looker
URL: http://

You seem to be terribly caught up with a team identity. What Robb was suggesting, and what is expounded upon at great length here and on other libertarianish sites, is that people with power simply can’t be trusted ... no matter whose colors they currently brandish. The small-government, libertarian, classical liberal, or whatever other label you want to put on it, position is that the power wielded by the State over its subjects should be limited and alterable only by the express will of the People. Whether it’s Republicans, or Democrats or Libertarians doing the governing, they all begin to act in their own self-interest over time, especially when given more and more power. Take the power away, Joe, and the individual will flourish.

Put another way, I don’t give a flying frig at a rolling doughnut who’s driving the bus if the route continuously expands to include going through my living room, bedroom, place of work, etc. Get rid of the bus, give ’em a bicycle and tell them to stay the hell out!
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Well MichaelW it’s TEAMS that win at politics or sports... so you’d better sign on with a team or make sure your team has the power to play the big game. Well YOUR team doesn’t have the players, it has some of the talent, yes, but not the numbers to play and win. And if you want to CHANGE society, you’d better find someone and stick with that group. Now that may not be too libertarian but it is what works, it seems to me.

Politics is about aggregating interests and transitive preference hierarchies, in some senses. You better figure out who you’re going to aggregate your interests with and then be prepared to sacrifice SOME interests in exchange for something else you value...And Libertarians, at least many that I’ve seen, have trouble doing that. Can’t/won’t join the Democrats, carp all the time about the Republicans and constantly pull for "divided government", again defeat of the party they often align with. Blacks got to the table in the Democrtic Party by sticking with the Party, even though it didn’t do a lot for them in the 1930’s and 1940’s. You chose a party and you stick with it, for a LONG time. When it becomes apparent after a LONG period of time (decade(s)?) you can recompute the need to stay or go. But as a group if you’re constantly, every electoral cycle, ready to bolt, you don’t really become too valuable to a party or movement.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Actually blacks for a while thought the Republican party was a pretty good deal.
Course, that was just after the Republican party struck off the chains they’d been wasn’t Republicans that took South Carolina and some of them other wayward states out of the Union in 1860....

snark snark
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Another high point for the US Military boneheads

Written By: Tony
URL: http://
Well YOUR team doesn’t have the players,...
Much like George Washington, I don’t have a team. There is no party that even comes close to representing my varied interests.

Sticking with a team doesn’t look like such a great deal to me when neither team is, at its core, committed to the things that I find most important — i.e., freedom and liberty.

The current party regime is geared towards dolling out special favors from the State in order to buy votes. How do you expect to change that by voting the same way every time?

It’s interesting that you brought up the recent history of blacks and the Democratic Party. Do you really believe that the Democrats have black people’s best interests in mind? Has the Democratic Party actually done anything to help black people? Since the Civil Rights era, I’d say "no". Instead, the Democratic Party takes blacks for granted each and every election cycle because the party leaders are convinced that they will get the vast majority of the black vote. So far that’s been true, despite the fact that Democrats have done nothing but infantilize and belittle black people for decades.

So what’s so good about sticking with one team again?
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Good grief, Tony ... I have to wonder why you’re so willing to believe the accuracy of the report.

The report alludes to them being trussed up before being shot. That’s certainly not how the US conducts it’s missions. And they’re prohibited from conducting summary executions, which is what this would have been.

So there’s certainly reason to be very skeptical of the report on it’s face. However, we know that al Qaeda has no compunction whatsoever about killing women and children. They do it almost daily. Seems, if the person or persons they were after really were AQ, this might present a perfect opportunity to stage an atrocity to be blamed on the US.

I think I’ll withhold my condemnation until a lot more is found out about this particular incident.
Written By: McQ
Joe must be a Cubs fan.
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Great - after reading the Reuters story I’m comfortable we DIDN’T do it. Why start now? Why haven’t we done it before? Where are the other cases of us making this our practice (tying them up, head shots, etc). Why bother shooting them one by one when all we had to do fry the house directly (which I note was done afterwards, probably ’by hand’ rather than long range as we’re perfectly capable of doing).

Get a grip, this has fellow ’Muslim’ written all over it.

I love the observation in the Reuters article that the ’militia’s are in danger of losing control’. I was rather hoping they didn’t HAVE control in the first place.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I supported all of the Balkans wars.

Even Kosovo, where we did not have UN approval when we went in, were bent on occupying anothewr countries’ sovereign territory (still are!) with the eventual goal of stripping that territory from them. Oh, and we did not find too many mass graves, either.

I think it would be interesting to compare Iraq with a similar situation in Yugoslavia where we invaded all of the country, including Serbia, and our goal was to keep a "unified multi-ethnic" Yugoslavia.

Anyone think we would not have faced IEDs in the Serb areas?
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Even Kosovo, where we did not have UN approval when we went in, were bent on occupying anothewr countries’ sovereign territory (still are!) with the eventual goal of stripping that territory from them. Oh, and we did not find too many mass graves, either."

I happen to work with a Romanian fella and a couple of Serbs. I picked their brains yesterday, seperatly, for 20 minutes or so. When that war happened, I supported it but knew very little about it. I now know more but still know very little. But from what my co-workers told me (and they both said the same things)and from some poking around on the net I am 100% positive we backed the wrong people in that war. Maybe our military or just the European military had to go in to calm the situation but it shouldn’t have been to kick the Serbs off their own land.
Written By: markm
URL: http://
Much like George Washington, I don’t have a team. There is no party that even comes close to representing my varied interests.
Then for YOU, as an individual, that’s fine. But, for a GROUP, that attitude doesn’t work. Again politics aggreagtes interests... sorry 300 million INDIVIDUAL voters/parties would produce chaos, so parties and factions emerge. Now if you have a set of ideas yo believe in, you need to sign on with a party.

Personally, MichaelW your comment could be taken to mean that you have an INCOHERENT political philosophy or it means you have a coherent one that does not match any ONE party. Again at the personal level it works for you to sign on with varying politicians, matching or nearly matching your policy preferences. BUT, if you’re trying to advance a PHILOSOPY, i.e., be proactive in politics, to shape the landscape rather than to satisfice for what’s available, then compromises are INEVITABLE, as are parties.

I don’t KNOW or care if the Democrats "care" about Blacks. But they have adopted policy positions that garnered a vast majority of the Black vote. I chose Blacks DELIBERAELY, BTW. They provide an example of sticking around for a LONG time, decades, and now beginnning to reassess their party/policy preferences. Their vote is VITAL to Democratic success, without it the party is hurting, Hillary CAN’T win without them (Which is not to say she can win WITH them, either, merely that unless she captures the usual share of Black votes whe or any Democrat really can’t expect victory). Black loyalty and the possibility of Black defection have given Black leaders power within the Party and have delivered policy preferences most Blacks support (Again it’s irrelevant whether those policies benefit Blacks or not, it is sufficient that Blacks BELIEVE them to beneficial or at least non-harmful). That’s why I chose them. They are an example of long-term allegiance, with a more recent reevaluation. Note, Blacks have been a large part of the New Deal Coalition for over 70 years. They didn’t say, "I sur hope the Democrats LOSE this election, that’ll teach’em." Or, "Divided government is GOOD and I hope the Democrats loses." Groups need to be reliable coalition partners. When a group can not be relied on, consistently, it tends to lose its value.

Conservatives have this problem, I see many Conservatives wanting RINO’s or Bush to lose, under the theory "That’ll teach’em" and I say the same thing to them. Why would the Repuvblicans court you if you are CONSTANTLY willing to bolt? And I do remember when that’ll teach’em worked, it was 1992 and the Consrvatives left Bush 41 and what we learned was, Bill Clinton can be President. So to Conservatives there is a cautionary tale, the leasson to be learned is that someone you despise can be in office for 8 years.

McQ, Jon, MichaelW, and Robb be careful in your wishes. You might "learn" something you really don’t like... Such as IF Pelosi is Speaker and Reid is Majority Floor Leader, tax cuts will go away, i.e., lose their permanency and that’s called INCREASING your taxes. Yo can bet that Iraq will certainly slide further into chaos and that many things you like will be threatened, and even if there is a Republican President many Progressive ideas will advance. You guys think grid lock would mean NOTHING would happen. Grid Lock means that the dominant party/philosophy can only advance SLOWLY. And there IS a difference.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Scientific study throws light on MKUltra’s mental condition and decision-making process:
“... the partisan lout in your [blog] who absolutely will not listen to reason may not be at fault; he may just be a slave to his ventro-medial prefrontal cortex. ...At Emory University, psychologist Drew Westen and his team conducted what they believe is the first study of ‘the neural basis of any form of political decision making’. ...Normally, Westen says, a brain faced with contradictory information will fire up the zones where reason or rational thought happens. ... [partisans] while strapped down in MRI machines didn’t even fire up the thinking parts of their brains.”
So there you have it. Talking to MK is like talking to a dial tone; the thinking receptor isn’t even turned on.
And what did the study demonstrate abut the thinking process of centrists?
“...research does demonstrate that centrists or independents are more able to process rational and non-emotional political information. “
Of course, we already knew this, but it is nice to have scientific evidence to back up one’s intuitive thought.
[NO sarcasm/humor alert]
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Joe, while your admonitions about being a partner through the good and bad are worthwhile, you don’t appear to be taking into consideration that parties die and new ones rise. The GOP is not guaranteed to live forever and indeed should not if it continues to disappoint an increasingly larger group of people. At some point I’m expecting the final straws to break for those people who have the desire and energy to start a new party that is more representative of the dissatisfied. That’s a rational and reasonable decision. It is not rational to remain loyal while being repeatedly mugged.

You seem to think those of us around here who are dissatisfied with the current GOP and administration feel this way because it’s not 90% pure. I disagree. I can handle impurity. What I can’t handle is when the purity is below 50%;when my Coke starts tasting like Diet Coke. The more the GOP starts behaving like the DNC, the less reason anyone has to stick around and support it.

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Parties die, but not recently in the US, Unknown....and if any party is dying it’s not the GOP. You might have to look across the aisle for that phenomena.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of scepticism but unfortunately there is no justification for it with regard to US atrocities in Iraq which are daily. To try to blame it on AQ is a bit naive in the light of the attached and much much more. The difference is that the US Army are supposed to the ’security’ force. Remember all the stuff about freedom and democracy, purple fingers and all that - ashes now, which is all that stuff ever was. I would hate to be an American just now. I’m also glad its your billions of taxes and not mine to fund this carnage. How would anyone, sceptic or not, feel about that???
Written By: Tony
URL: http://

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